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And when she left, she hurried back, as swift

As bird on wing to breast its eggs again : And, patient as a hen-bird, sat her there Beside her Basil, weeping through her hair.

LX.
Yet they contrived to steal the Basil-pot,

And to examine it in secret place:
The thing was vile with green and livid spot,

And yet they knew it was Lorenzo's face :
The guerdon of their murder they had got,

And so left Florence in a moment's space,
Never to turn again.—Away they went,
With blood upon their heads, to banishment.

LXL

O Melancholy, turn thine eyes away!

O Music, Music, breathe despondingly ! O Echo, Echo, on some other day,

From isles Lethean, sigh to us— sigh ! Spirits of grief, sing not your “ Well-a-way!"

For Isabel, sweet Isabel, will die; · Will die a death too lone and incomplete, Now they have ta’en away her Basil sweet.

LXIL Piteous she look'd on dead and senseless things,

Asking for her lost Basil amorously: And with melodious chuckle in the strings

Of her lorn voice, she oftentimes would cry After the Pilgrim in his wanderings,

To ask him where her Basil was; and why 'Twas hid from her: “For cruel 'tis,” said she, “To steal my Basil-pot away from me."

LXI.
And so she pined, and so she died forlorn,

Imploring for her Basil to the last.
No heart was there in Florence but did mourn

In pity of her love, so overcast.
And a sad ditty of this story borne

From mouth to mouth through all the country pass’d: Still is the burthen sung—“O cruelty, To steal my Basil-pot away from me!”

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St. AGNES' Eve—Ah, bitter chill it was !
The owl, for all his feathers, was a-cold;
The hare limp'd trembling through the frozen grass,
And silent was the flock in woolly fold:
Numb were the Beadsman's fingers while he told
His rosary, and while his frosted breath,
Like pious incense from a censer old,

Seem'd taking flight for heaven without a death, Past the sweet Virgin's picture, while his prayer he saith

IL.

His prayer he saith, this patient, holy man;
Then takes his lamp, and riseth from his knees,
And back returneth, meagre, barefoot, wan,
Along the chapel aisle by slow degrees :
The sculptured dead, on each side seem to freeze,
Emprison'd in black, purgatorial rails :
Knights, ladies, praying in dumb orat’ries,

He passeth by; and his weak spirit fails
To think how they may ache in icy hoods and mails.

III.

Northward he turneth through a little door
And scarce three steps, ere Music's golden tongue
Flatter'd to tears this aged man and poor;
But no-already had his death-bell rung;
The joys of all his life were said and sung:
His was harsh penance on St. Agnes' Eve:
Another way he went, and soon among

Rough ashes sat he for his soul's reprieve,
And all night kept awake, for sinner's sake to grieve.

IV.
That ancient Beadsman heard the prelude soft;
And so it chanced, for many a door was wide,
From hurry to and fro. Soon, up aloft,
The silver, snarling trumpets ’gan to chide :
The level chambers, ready with their pride,
Were glowing to receive a thousand guests :
The carved angels, ever eager-eyed,

Stared, where upon their heads the cornice rests, With hair blown back, and wings put cross-wise on their breasts.

V. At length burst in the argent revelry, With plume, tiara, and all rich array, Numerous as shadows haunting fairily The brain, new-stuff'd, in youth, with triumphs gay Of old romance. These let us wish away, And turn, sole-thoughted, to one Lady there, Whose heart had brooded, all that wintry day,

On love, and wing'd St. Agnes' saintly care, As she had heard old dames full many times declare.

VI.

They told her how, upon St. Agnes' Eve, a
Young virgins might have visions of delight,
And soft adorings from their loves receive an
Upon the honey'd middle of the night,
If ceremonies due they did aright;
As, supperless to bed they must retire,
And couch supine their beauties, lily white ;(

Nor look behind, nor sideways, but require e
Of Heaven with upward eyes for all that they desiro.

VIL

Full of this whim was thoughtful Madeline :
The music, yearning like a God in pain, do
She scarcely heard : her maiden eyes divine, a
Fix'd on the floor, saw many a sweeping train
Pass by—she heeded not at all: in vain lv
Came many a tiptoe, amorous cavalier,
And back retired; not cool'd by high disdain, ,

But she saw not: her heart was otherwhere;
She sigh'd for Agnes' dreams, the sweetest of the year.

VIN.

She danced along with vague, regardless eyes, a Anxious her lips, her breathing quick and short: The hallow'd hour was near at hand : she sighs a Amid the timbrels, and the throng'd resort le Of whisperers in anger, or in sport;

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Hoodwink'd with faery fancy; all amort,

Save to St. Agnes and her lambs unshorn, And all the bliss to be before to-morrow morn.

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